Top Draft Prospects to Watch as Bowl Season Begins on Saturday
The college football bowl season has finally arrived, and with that means the final chance for many of college football's stars to put on a performance before they advance into workouts for the NFL Draft. The college football bowl season is loaded with star talent, and we will see a large part of that talent on the field on Saturday.
Here is a look at the four bowl games on Saturday, and the top players we should be watching in each of these games.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Deone Bucannon (S) Washington State
Colorado State will like to run the ball a lot against Washington State on Saturday, and that means we will get a great look at safety Deone Bucannon. Bucannon is an All-American this season and is considered the top safety in the upcoming draft by many scouts.
The senior plays a very physical game and is great at stopping the run, and stopping opposing receivers from crossing over the middle with the big hits that he can deliver.
Bucannon made over 100 tackles for the Cougars this season, so we will see him all over the field on Saturday as he tries to help stop the Colorado State offense.
Crockett Gilmore (TE) Colorado State
Crockett Gilmore is not really a name that jumps out when you think of NFL Draft prospects, but frankly, the Rams do not have much NFL-worthy talent on their roster though.
At 6'6" though, Gilmore should certainly be able to find his way on an NFL roster next season. His size allows him to go down field and create mismatches against smaller safeties, and he is a threat inside the red zone as well.
The Rams did not exactly have a prolific offense this year, so Gilmore only has two touchdowns, but if he gets on a team that can move the football and put up points in bunches, he can be a very reliable red zone threat for an NFL team.
Las Vegas Bowl
Derek Carr (QB) Fresno State
Derek Carr certainly has to be one of the biggest draft prospects that everyone is looking forward to watching on Saturday. Carr has shot up draft boards this season because of the way he has commanded the high-octane Fresno State offense.
The senior has 4866 yards passing and 48 touchdowns on the year, and should certainly go over 5000 yards and 50 touchdowns on Saturday. It may only take him a quarter to do it.
Carr is being considered as a Top Ten pick this year, which says a lot because this draft is loaded with talented quarterbacks.
Marqise Lee (WR) USC
It has not been a great year for USC and that has caused the draft stock for wide receiver Marqise Lee to decline a little this season. Lee only has two touchdown catches on the year, which is significantly down compared to the 14 he had last year and the 11 he caught in his freshman season.
Still, Lee is the best wide receiver in this draft class, in my opinion.
At six feet, he is not extremely tall, but Lee has great hands and always finds a way to get open and get the football. Injuries have slowed his production a little bit this season, but he needs 12 catches on Saturday to have the most receptions by a wide receiver in USC history. And it is only his third season.
Lee will decide if he goes pro or not after the bowl game, but if he does, someone will get a true steal in the middle of the first round if they take a shot on Marqise Lee.
Davante Adams (WR) Fresno State
It will be interesting to see what kind of numbers Davante Adams puts up against a more elite team in USC on Saturday. Adams simply put up some ridiculous, video game like stats this season.
The redshirt sophomore caught 122 passes for 1645 yards and 23 touchdowns. The great numbers are nothing new for Adams though, as he caught 102 balls for 1312 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
Sure, the numbers are inflated a bit because of the competition that Fresno State faces through a large majority of their season, but there is no denying that this guy can play. Adams would make for a great second-round pick for any team looking for a No. 2 wide receiver if he decides to come out this year.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Khalil Mack (LB) Buffalo
Many people have heard the name Khalil Mack this season, but for many of us this will be our first time to see the senior linebacker play, since Buffalo does not get a lot of television coverage during the season.
Mack will fit in perfectly for any team looking for an outside pass rusher in a 3-4 defensive scheme. He has great speed and a great ability to get to the quarterback, which he showed by getting 10.5 sacks this season.
Mack will certainly be a first-round pick this year and could even go in the top ten, given how he performed at the combine and the need for strong outside pass rushers.
Colin Lockett (WR) San Diego State
There really is not a whole lot of NFL talent to watch on San Diego State's side of the ball. If anybody gets drafted off the team, they will probably be a seventh-round pick, but one guy who has a shot to make a roster is Colin Lockett.
Lockett would be a slot receiver at best, but if he makes a name for himself it will be on special teams. Just watch how athletic and dynamic he is Saturday night for the Aztecs.
New Orleans Bowl
Justin Anderson (LB) Louisiana Lafayette
There is more draft talent on the way for Louisiana Lafayette, but this year the player to watch is Justin Anderson. Anderson led the way for the defense with 123 tackles, 10 of which were for a loss.
Anderson should be able to find his way on an NFL roster next season, and a strong showing Saturday night would certainly help his cause.
Ryan Grant (WR) Tulane
Ryan Grant has had a solid five year career at Tulane, and could be a player who can make it as a slot receiver at the next level.
Grant will be looking to get 74 yards receiving and a touchdown on Saturday night to eclipse the 1000-yard and 10-touchdown mark for his final collegiate season.